Sailing the Croatian National Parks: Krka Waterfalls
Krka National Park offers off the charts sailing experience!
As part of our series Sailing the Croatian National Parks, we have already covered everything you need to know about sailing around the stunning Kornati islands and the fascinating Brijuni islands. Today, we will look into one national park that is slightly off the map, located a bit more inland – the National Park Krka, which is famous for its wonderful waterfalls, clear blue water and lush green vegetation. Although situated slightly further from the coast, Krka National Park is still (mostly) accessible by boat!
Krka National Park
The Krka National Park is a truly magical place located just 10 kilometres from Šibenik. Stretched along the course of the Krka River, the Krka National Park covers the area (109 square kilometres) from the lovely town of Skradin, to Croatia’s interior town of Knin, including the lower part of the river Čikola. The most famous attractions are Skradinski Buk and Roški Slap waterfalls and the small island of Visovac. The area is exceptionally rich in various fauna and flora with more than 800 species and subspecies of plantlife and 200 bird species, as well as many amphibians and reptiles, many of which are endemic. The area was proclaimed a national park in 1985.
What to see?
Skradinski buk, a collection of 17 waterfalls, is one of the most attractive parts of the park and one of the most spectacular waterfalls of its kind (calcium carbonate waterfall) in Croatia and Europe. It is also the longest waterfall on the Krka River. There is a network of footpaths and bridges which provide comfortable and safe walking throughout the year.
The small island of Visovac in the Krka river is among Croatia’s most valuable natural and cultural sights. The island is a home to the Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy founded by the Franciscans in 1445, and the Church of Our Lady of Visovac, which is why the island also bears the name Our Lady’s Island. The monastery houses a number of well-preserved artefacts and historical manuscripts. The island can be visited by a boat tour from Skradinski buk (to Roški Slap), which includes a 30-minute-long stop for sightseeing.
Roški Slap (slap meaning waterfall in Croatian) is another popular tourist attraction within Krka National Park. Also called the ‘vast waterfall’, Roški slap features over 22-metre-high waterfall and numerous cascades, backwaters and islands. Along the left bank of 450-metre-long area of the cascades and waterfalls (called ‘necklaces’), there is a complex of water mills, some of which have been restored and renovated, and are considered to be of great ethnographic value. Best way to reach Roški Slap is by excursion boat, although it can also be accessed by public road.
Besides the two most famous and gorgeous waterfalls, Krka National Park also boasts five more waterfalls which are worth visiting – Miljacka Slap, Rošnja, Manojlovac Slap, Brljan and Bilušića buk. There are also many other interesting sights to discover in the national park, such as the Krka monastery, Oziđana cave and the Early Croatian fortresses of Trošenj and Nečven.
The best way to see all the wonders of the Krka National Park is to take an organised boat tour (excursion), which offers the best views of the waterfalls and other natural beauties up close, as well as a chance to stop and wander along the footpaths. Most boat excursions leave from the nearby town of Skradin. Visitors can also hire a boat in Skradin if they wish to sail to Skradinski buk provided that they are accompanied by a park staff member (marine motorist).
Besides sightseeing via boat, you can also hike around the park seeing that there are many hiking trails. To reach Skradinski buk, there is an 875-metre-long trail from Lozovac entrance or 4-kilometre-long trail from Skradin. There are also many bicycle routes for all the cycling enthusiasts, which prefer riding on two wheels while exploring the natural beauties of the Krka National Park. But, best of all, you can swim in the stunningly clear waters of the Krka River and fully enjoy the impressive waterfalls. Swimming is possible at specifically marked sites at Skradinski buk and Roški slap.
How to get there
Krka National Park is located near a small charming town of Skradin, which is, along with Šibenik, the best base for exploring the park. There are also many other options such as day trips from Split, Omiš, Zadar and even Makarska. For more details contact a local travel agency. The town of Skradin is easily accessible by road network and local bus lines and there are two international airports nearby – in Zadar and Split, both of which are approximately 60 km from Skradin.
To reach the town of Skradin by boat you will have to pass Šibenik Bay, up the River Krka and through the freshwater lake of Prokljan. When sailing the river, it is customary to keep to the starboard (right-hand) side. In the first half, the riverbed narrows down to 100 m (depth of 7–40 m) at points, and later to 80 m (depth 7–11 m). Note that the left bank of the river is shallower. Through what are often steep-sided and narrow gorges you will come to the ACI Marina Skradin, marked by a green lighthouse on the west coast.
Although the river Krka is navigable, the sailing is prohibited to all boats except small tourist boats. The old bridge nearby is too low for almost all yachts to pass under (9.5 m). Therefore, if you want to visit the Krka waterfalls, you will have to leave your boat and take the waterbus. You can also hire a boat in Skradin to sail to Skradinski buk provided that you are accompanied by a park staff member (marine motorist).
Sailing & Mooring
Photo: ACI marina Skradin
Seeing that sailing is prohibited due to the fact that most boats cannot go beyond one of the bridges near Skradin (too low for yachts), you will have to moor in one of the nearby marinas and take a boat trip or hire a boat in Skradin and sail accompanied by the park member staff. The closest marina is the one in Skradin – ACI Marina Skradin. Marina Skradin is one of the most beautiful ACI-owned marinas in Croatia, located just 8 miles upriver from Šibenik and two miles downstream of the famous Skradinski Buk. It can accommodate 180 vessels longer than 70 metres with the maximal draft of 7 m and the maximal air draft of 30 m. For more information about the marina, click here. If the Marina is full, you can anchor in the river during the day, however seeing that anchoring is severely restricted at Skradin, you will not be allowed to stay overnight.
Photo: D-Marine Mandalina
You can also station your yacht in Šibenik at the town port or at Marina Mandalina and take a boat trip from there. The great part about mooring in Šibenik is that another national park – the Kornati islands are located in its close vicinity. Situated on the SE end of a five-mile-long inlet of Šibenik Bay, D-Marine Mandalina or simply Marina Mandalina offers great shelter from all winds and is known to be one of the safest marinas in Croatia. It is also one of two marinas in Croatia to have been awarded 5 Gold Anchors and a proud owner of the Blue Flag. The marina features 429 wet berths, 79 of which are specially designed for superyachts, and 50 dry berths. It has an outstanding range of on-site conveniences for luxury yacht owners and crew members, including a bar, restaurant and grocery store. For more information about the marina, click here.
Another marina that is on the main maritime route to Krka National Park is Marina Zaton, which is situated opposite The Prokljan Lake, in a deep and well-sheltered Zaton bay. However, this marina is privately owned and operated by a branch of Dream Yacht Charter company, which means that there are few berthing spaces to choose from. For more information about the marina, click here.
Depending on the season and month, cost of tickets significantly varies. For tickets allowing entry in the entire area of the park costs 200 Kunas for adults in July and August (after 4 pm 145 Kunas), 110 Kunas from April to June and during September and October, and only 30 Kunas if you visit the park in the winter time – from November to March. However, if you visit Krka National Park in winter, take note that the boats do not operate which means many parts of the park such as boat visits on the route Skradin – Skradinski buk –Skradin, visits to Visovac Island, the Krka monastery and Oziđana pećina cave are not available as well as boat and bus transport from Lozovac to Skradinski buk.
Tickets include return boat rides from Skradin to Skradinski buk and bus transfer from Lozovac to Skradinski buk as well as expert presentation and demonstration of the Burnum archaeological collection, ethno presentation at the mills at Skradinski buk, Roški slap and Oziđana pećina cave, access to all walking trails in the park. Tickets for children are cheaper, while children under the age of 7 have free entry throughout the year. You can also buy cheaper tickets which only allow entrance to certain areas of the park. Tickets can be bought at the ticket office on arrival or online at the official website of Krka National Park here.
For a full price list for National Park Krka, click here.
Address: Trg Ivana Pavla II br. 5, 22000 Šibenik
Phone: +385 (0)22 201-777
Fax +385 (0)22 336-836
Office working hours: Monday – Friday, 07:00 to 15:00
Photos: Romulić & Stojčić